Popularity contests: Flood victims say Dasti has filled the gap for Hina Khar

Villagers say Khar has ignored her constituency during a time of crisis.

Owais Jaffery August 29, 2011

MUZAFFARGARH: Local flood victims protested against Foreign Affair Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for neglecting her constituency during the floods. Flood victims from dozens of villages in Dera Ghazi Khan and Muzaffargarh said that Khar had only visited her constituency twice during her tenure as a National Assembly member.

“The NA-177 has been abandoned by its leader. The only person who has offered us aid during this time of trouble is MNA Jamshed Dasti,” said flood victim Mubarak Ali from village Ameer Band Viran. Flood victims said that they had been given a single rupee of aid to rebuild or relocate as their villages were inundated. Some flood victims from the villages of Ameer Band Viran and Gujraat accused Khar of overlooking their plight on grounds of racism because they belonged to Gormani caste.

“The aid is being used to strengthen political relations for their standing in the next general elections rather than to help villagers,” he said.

Flood victims, including residents of villages Rao Bela Mashraqi, Aem Budh, Maansa Raam, Qasba Gurmani said that they had been have been forced to live in extreme conditions and were being targeted because they were rivals of the Khar family in the previous general elections.

Villagers said that they had been aided by PPP MNA Jamshed Dasti from the neighbouring constituency. “He is the only one who has been doing flood relief work here,” said villager Ameen Bukhari.

DCO Muzaffargarh Tahir Khursheed denied all the allegations against the district government for not assisting flood victims and catering to the Khar family’s political agenda.

“We have constructed houses in every village, nearly 130 houses in Basti Bulla, 150 in Darkhaan Waala and others,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th,  2011.